All Black coach Steve Hansen brought his defensive A-game to the interview table today as curiosity grows about Wayne Smith signing on for another stint.

Anyone looking for a juicy soundbite from Hansen will be disappointed but the absence of any denial about Smith will pique speculation that New Zealand Rugby is trying to stitch up a suitable deal with the former assistant.

You'll have to wait and see, Hansen told Martin Devlin on Radio Sport.

Listen: Steve Hansen on the DRS

It was the next line which raised the intrigue when the All Black coach was quizzed about the appeal of renewing the association.


"Obviously, he is one of the best coaches in the world so.... but there's no point in talking about things we can't talk about.

"If he's not talking about it, I can't talk about it either, so when I can you'll hear all about it," Hansen said.

Hansen and his coaching crew have had a few meetings to outline their ideas for the season and assistant Ian Foster had returned from watching the start of the Six Nations and Hansen would travel for the last round when France, England and Wales were in action.

The All Blacks host Wales in the June series and it was important to do some homework on them so the All Blacks could start well. They also needed to scout Ireland who they play twice on the end of year tour in Chicago and Dublin, and their French and Italian opponents.

One of the challenges for the entire All Black group was to rule a line under the last World Cup triumph and move on.

"If you bask too long in your achievements your feet can come off the floor," Hansen said.
The All Blacks would be a mix of old and new players this season who needed to play like world champions and that was the challenge for everyone.

There were selection choices at first five eighths even with the exit of Daniel Carter and Colin Slade while Sam Cane was earmarked to move into Richie McCaw's openside role and also bring his leadership skills.

Every major side in the world would feel they had a chance to beat the All Blacks this year so they had to prove their calibre to themselves and the rest of the globe once more. They would need to lift the standards some more.

That had to be the mantra because every chasing side would be lifting their game. The All Blacks needed to say what they did today was better than yesterday and what they do tomorrow is better than today.

From a coaching point of view 2008 was very tough because the All Blacks had to deal with the guilt of losing the year before. People were angry so that made it tough but from a rugby point of view the tasks were easier.

The World Cup victory in 2011 was a relief and 2015 was very satisfying. Planning this year would be crucial for setting the tone of the campaign.